Pump Prices Leap into March, Reach 2011 High

Auto club warns of driving behaviors that can drain your tank NOTE: AAA Fuel Gauge data should include attribution to AAA.

Phoenix, Ariz., March 1, 2012. This week, Arizonans endured the largest week-over-week pump price increase in four years, after the statewide average soared nearly 18 cents to $3.760 per gallon. Nationally, prices increased nearly 13 cents to $3.738 per gallon.
“Arizona motorists are now paying $3.76 per gallon––the 2011 peak statewide average––more than two months earlier than we did last year,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “With the way prices have been trending in recent weeks, there’s no indication that prices will relent in the short-term, much to the dismay of drivers who have already weathered two months of price hikes.”
With pump prices up nearly 40 cents from last month and continuing toward the $4 mark, drivers are seeking ways to save on fuel where they can. To help drivers stretch their fuel tank, AAA cautions against the following gas-guzzling gaffes:

  • Putting the pedal to the metal. Speeding is not only a hazard to safety; it’s a hazard to your wallet. Consider this: each five mph driven over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon.
    • Cost: Motorists driving 70 mph are actually spending $4.24 per gallon, based on today’s fuel prices. This is like adding an extra $7 per tank, and if you fill up once a week, could add up to $30 to your monthly fuel budget.
  • Driving aggressively. Avoid abrupt starts and stops. Rather, accelerate and brake slowly to help conserve fuel and stress on your vehicle.
    • Cost: According to the Department of Energy, aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent, adding on an extra $1.25 per gallon. Based on today’s fuel prices, if you fill up once a week, this could as add as much as $80 to your monthly fuel budget.
  • Paying premium. The cost of premium fuel is well over 20 cents more than the cost of regular gasoline. Unless your vehicle requires it, don’t buy it.
    • Cost: Using regular fuel instead of premium fuel can help save 23 cents per gallon, based on today’s fuel prices. If you fill up once a week with premium, this could add up to $14 to your monthly fuel budget.

Tucson and Scottsdale hold the low and high state fuel averages at $3.606 and $3.853, respectively. Wyoming and California hold the low and high price extremes for the lower 48 states at $3.174 and $4.334, respectively. Currently, Alaska, California and Hawaii have averages at or above the $4 per gallon mark.

City Today’s Price Change from Last Week Premium Diesel Last Year’s Price
East Valley (Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, Queen Creek) $3.799 +20.5 $4.044 $4.040 $3.339
Flagstaff $3.721 +12.5 $3.947 $4.133 $3.472
Glendale $3.809 +19.6 $4.053 $4.078 $3.364
Peoria $3.800 +21.5 $4.042 $4.092 $3.336
Phoenix (city) $3.794 +20.2 $4.043 $4.067 $3.358
Pima County $3.622 +15.8 $3.817 $4.065 $3.207
Prescott (Tri-Cities) $3.725 +15.6 $3.897 $4.078 $3.348
Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Fountain Hills) $3.853 +15.5 $4.135 $4.119 $3.452
Tucson $3.606 +15.6 $3.808 $4.047 $3.200
Yuma $3.817 +13.7 $4.004 $4.042 $3.502
Statewide $3.760 +17.9 $3.994 $4.085 $3.389
National $3.738 +12.6 $4.015 $4.060 $3.387
E-85 $3.201 +6.6 - - $2.859
*E85 MPG/BTU adjusted price $4.213 +8.7 - - $3.762

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

*The BTU-adjusted price of E-85 is the nationwide average price of E-85 adjusted to reflect the lower energy content as expressed in British Thermal Units. The BTU-adjusted price is calculated and displayed as part of AAA's Fuel Gauge Report because according to the Energy Information Administration, E-85 delivers approximately 25 percent fewer BTUs by volume than conventional gasoline. Because "flexible fuel" vehicles can operate on conventional fuel and E-85, the BTU-adjusted price of E-85 is essential to understanding the cost implications of each fuel choice for consumers.
AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report includes data from gasoline stations in every Arizona community. Local prices in some communities might be higher or lower than the averages shown here. This service is updated daily by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) with average national, state and local prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. Every day more than 100,000 stations are surveyed in cooperation with Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability.